By Elizabeth Perry
After a summer of discussion and debate, the Paul Triko Memorial Gazebo is gone and Coraopolis council members are moving forward with new redesign plans for the town square.
In June the board voted to remove the gazebo and to look into different options for the space, but the structure has remained in place.
After the vote, there was pushback from some residents, including Mayor Michael Dixon, who advocated for preserving the gazebo.
“We want to make sure the community and council are aligned on what should be the path forward,” Vice President Allison Marine said.
In a separate motion, the board unanimously agreed to allow Tiffany’s Towing to remove the gazebo at no cost.
Manager Ray McCutcheon said he and Police Chief Ronald Denbow had a discussion with Tiffany Towing about the removal of the gazebo and the business agreed to do the work for free.
“They offered to pay me, but I didn’t want to charge them,” Owner Pete Lyle said.
Lyle took the structure down on Sept. 7 and said he gave the gazebo to a friend who owns a farm in New Brighton. The friend plans to fix up the structure.
The new plans for the space, presented by Marine, came from a report compiled by the Shade Tree Commission, the Parks and Recreation Committee, the Public Works Department and included input from TreeVitalize Pittsburgh. The current plan includes five small trees, four ADA-accessible tables, flower pots and four new benches.
“Any of these components could be moved around like on a chess board,” Marine said.
Marine said there was a wi-fi transmitter embedded in the structure which was being used by the Cornell School District. The transmitter had been removed as well as the plaque at the time of the borough’s Sept. 6 meeting.
“This is not something that will happen overnight, we just want to make sure the pieces are put in place,” Marine said.
The trees would be paid for by grant money and would be scheduled for planting in Spring 2024. Coraopolis Community Development Corporation Executive Director Randon Willard was present at the meeting and said up to $14,000 in grant money from a variety of sources through his organization could be available to purchase ADA-accessible tables, trees and possibly some public art.
“I actually think the gazebo area could be an area of unity for the town,” Willard said in an interview prior to the meeting.
Councilmember Ed Pitassi said the space was open to adaptability, depending on community need, and more or fewer seating options could be added and moved around. Food trucks are part of the plan and Marine said the borough was talking with neighboring Cobblehaus Brew Co. about developing relationships with food trucks to use the space.
The Cobblehaus Brewery is home to a mural paid for with a grant through the CCDC and is adjacent to the square.
The council voted unanimously to approve the plan.